Citizen Science

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Photo by Jim Chapman

Citizen Science

Discover, explore, learn, and give back to Montana's wild places.

Want to learn more about the ecology of Montana’s wild public lands? Our variety of citizen science projects are just the ticket. This year, Montana Wilderness Association is prioritizing citizen-powered fieldwork projects that inspire volunteers to learn about and protect our wild places. By volunteering for one of these projects, you will join a community of people assisting scientists and land stewards by collecting critical data and providing labor for conservation stewardship efforts.

Citizen science projects are a critical part of protecting our wildest landscapes. In 2015, MWA began leading groups of volunteers into diverse wild landscapes to identify and catalogue wilderness characteristics. A successful season of inventorying and data collection gave MWA the tools to lead discussions and influence proposals that will continue to guide the long-term management of these varied wildlands.

From 2014 through 2016, MWA volunteers were an integral part of our winter rare carnivore species tracking program. MWA partnered with Wild Things Unlimited and Winter Wildlands Alliance to study, track, and identify wolverines along the Continental Divide near Helena. Over 50 volunteers collected critical data that provided invaluable insight for local land managers and agencies like the U.S. Forest Service. Through the dedicated work of citizen scientists and trained project supervisors, MWA and our partners were able to successfully advocate for protecting the Continental Divide as a critical wildlife migration corridor, a decision that will be reflected in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Plan.

Citizen science is dependent on volunteers, so please consider making an investment in our public lands by getting involved with our citizen science projects. Whether it’s pulling weeds, solitude monitoring, or monitoring Wilderness Study Areas with the Wilderness Institute, we’re excited to see you out in the field!

2018 projects have concluded. Thanks for all our volunteers who showed up to help protect wild places!
C1. Porcupine Weed Pull Big Sky Easy COMPLETED
C2. Sage Creek Weed Pull Bridger Moderate COMPLETED
C3. Bridge Coulee and Musseshell Breaks WSA Monitoring Mosby Moderate COMPLETED
C4.Catch-All Tour of BLM WSAs Mosby Moderate COMPLETED
C5. Hidden Pasture Creek and Blacktail Mountains WSA Monitoring Dillon Moderately Strenuous COMPLETED
C6. Centennial Mountains WSA Monitoring Dillon Strenuous COMPLETED
C7. Burnt Timber Weed Pull Bridger Moderate COMPLETED

How to sign up for a citizen science project.

Montana Wilderness Association uses an online registration system for our Wilderness Walks.

The process for registering for a walk is simple.

  1. On the above table, click on the desired project.
  2. To register for a citizen science project completely fill out the information requested on the registration page.
    • If you are a Montana Wilderness Association Member you can begin signing up for a project on Monday, April 16 (9:00 a.m.) by using your code on pg. 118 of your 2018 Discover Wild Montana book. If you are a member and did not receive the book contact Database Manager, Bob Ronan at or 406-443-7350 ext 101
    • All non-Montana Wilderness Association members can visit back on Monday, April 30 (9:00 a.m.) to register for all listed projects. To become a member and receive early registration contact the Development Director, Heather Greene at or 406-443-7350 ext. 102
  3. You are able to sign up family and friends, but everyone will also need to sign a paper waiver at the trailhead.
  4. An email confirmation will automatically be sent to you with the organizers contact information. Please check your SPAM folder if you do not see it in your inbox. If you have any questions about the hike or you need to cancel, please contact the organizer as soon as possible so they can give your spot to someone else.